Truly a great guitar
The guitar arrived in just two days in its Fender box inside of another box. Good packing job. This guitar needed all the normal adjustments to fit my preferences. It adjusted easily. The color is a beautiful red; a little deeper red than my 1988 candy apple red Stratocaster. Side by side, it is like a slightly darker candy apple red. In sunlight they were about the same, but in artificial light it was a little darker.
I compared the tone to three of my other Stratocasters side by side:
2009 Deluxe Ash Stratocaster with SCN pickups (uninspiringly modern and lacking vintage character, but I like it a lot)
2006 Made in Mexico Stratocaster (loudest, but plain sounding)
1988 E8 series Fujigen/USA Stratocaster (truly amazing vintage tone)
All 4 guitars are 100% original
The 1012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster took a while to settle in for me as far as the tone went, because it does sound different. Clear in all the ranges, yet the midrannge was coming through. These are obviously lower output pickups, but that is what it takes to get this tone. I kept switching guitars and playing the same things one each. Then all of a sudden, I got it. What Fender was trying to do. This guitar has a good full tone. It has a vitntage edge in the midrange that reminds me of the 1959 stratocaster I owned years ago. I now have seven Stratocasters and have had many, many others in the past, so I feel I have a good idea what one should do. I did a lot of good research before I bought this one. It has exceeded my high expectations.
The one and only negative thing I can say and it should be said: The tremolo arm plastic tip didn't match the other plastic so I will have to purchase one to go with my brand new guitar. All the plastic is aged white and the tip is white. Even my Mexican Strat came new with a matching aged white tip.
I am very impressed with the guitar. I have been with Stratocaster since I started playing in the 70s. I have even owned a first year 1954. The quality of this new one is right up there with the best. I'm not easy on guitars, but I know it will hold up over the years.